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December 10, 2015
G Suite

Gmail Hacks To Boost Your Productivity: Part 2

In our latest and greatest Google Hacks eBook, we’ve delivered 20 great Gmail hacks to help you master your inboxes with ease. In last week’s post, I shared a few of them, including how to manage multiple mail identities and how to stay at Inbox Zero. Below are four more of the brilliant hacks for achieving the ultimate Google inbox.

Pre-organize your inbox with Label on Send

In 2013, when Google pushed out the small, simplified Gmail compose window, it tucked away from view a very powerful organizational tool: labels. Hidden in the little arrow next to the Trash icon in the bottom right of the compose window is the option to Label or Star your message before you send it. Any replies you receive will automatically fall under the label applied to the original message, and the conversation will already be starred. It’s much faster and easier than manually labeling messages after you receive a reply.

Make your mail archive extra-searchable with Gmail hashtags

We’ve talked about the awesome Gmail search operators that let you hone in on exactly the archived messages you’re looking for. Well, you can seed your emails and even Google chats with hashtags to make particular messages easier to find. Simply add the # sign to the beginning of any word and use it like a recurring tag, just as you would on Twitter. For example, tag any of your travel-planning emails or chats with the #biztravel hashtag. Then, when you search for #biztravel in Gmail, you’ll find every email containing said hashtag. Most of us don’t use hashtags in regular correspondence, so these tags will serve as “search magnets” for specific messages or chat strings. Gmail’s internal search returns both.

Re-run your favorite Gmail searches with Quick Links

Now that you’re in the habit of using hashtags and labels, you’ll want to speed up the process of searching for messages tagged with these (or other) markers. If you’ve got a complex search string that you regularly use, now you can save yourself some typing (and typos) by turning that query into a Gmail Quick Link. Just enable the Quick Link option in Labs, and you can add any search to the list of links that appear in the left column of your Gmail inbox. Now you can re-run your favorite, super-complex and hyper-specific searches with a single click.

Define your worldview with Gmail inbox styles

Adding Quick Links isn’t the only way you can customize the appearance and function of your inbox. Gmail has a number of inbox styles and settings that let you control the layout and organization of your primary Gmail interface. The default option divides your inbox into three tabs: Primary, Social and Promotions, with the option to add Updates and Forums tabs. The Important First option creates an upper section for items Google marks as important and a lower section for items Google marks as unimportant. The Unread First and Starred First sections are self-explanatory, though the latter is a good match for folks who label and star on send. The Priority Inbox is the most complex, as it can combine or segregate a combination of important, unread and starred messages into one or more separate inbox sections, with highly granular control over what types of messages qualify for each area. You can even override filters that normally sort messages out of the inbox entirely. The options are staggering; use them to build the perfect organizational model for your mail consumption.

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